DANIEL J. SALMONS Appellee
KIMBERLY A. EUBANK Appellant
FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF
SUMMIT, OHIO CASE No. 2010 08 2394
H. FERGUSON, Attorney at Law, for Appellant.
LOWRY, Attorney at Law, for Appellee.
KENNETH L. GIBSON, Attorney at Law, for Appellee.
DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY
JENNIFER HENSAL PRESIDING JUDGE.
Kimberly Eubank appeals a judgment of the Summit County Court
of Common Pleas, Domestic Relations Division, that sustained
one of Daniel Salmons' objections to the decision of a
magistrate and declined to modify the child support award in
its decree of divorce. For the following reasons, this Court
Mr. Salmons and Ms. Eubanks married in 2001 and divorced in
2012. According to their separation agreement, which was made
part of the decree, the parties agreed that neither would pay
the other child support. They indicated that their reasons
for the deviation were the amount of time each parent would
have with the children, each parent's contribution to the
expenses of the children, and "[t]he percentage of each
party's income to the combined incomes of the
In September 2013, Mother moved to modify the child support
order, claiming that Father earned substantially more than
she. Her motion proceeded to a hearing before a magistrate,
who found that, under the child support guidelines, Father
should be paying $1, 021 a month in child support. Noting
that the calculated amount was more than a ten percent change
from the existing order, the magistrate recommended modifying
the support order and suggested that Father pay $750 a month.
Father objected to the magistrate's decision. Upon
review, the trial court determined that, because the existing
child support was zero, Mother had to show more than a ten
percent change to establish that there had been a substantial
change in circumstances. Instead, it concluded that she had
to show that there had been a change in circumstances that
was not contemplated by the parties when they agreed to the
prior deviation. It found that, although Father's
financial situation had improved since the decree,
Mother's had as well. It concluded that the record did not
support that there was any change in circumstances that was
not contemplated by the parties at the time they previously
decided to deviate the child support amount. It, therefore,
sustained one of Father's objections and dismissed the
others as moot. Mother has appealed, assigning as error that
the trial court abused its discretion when it determined that
there had not been a significant change in circumstances.
Mother argues that the trial court abused its discretion when
it declined to modify the child support award. In general,
"a trial court's decision regarding child support
obligations falls within the discretion of the trial court
and will not be disturbed absent a showing of an abuse of
discretion." Pauly v. Pauly, 80 Ohio St.3d 386,
390 (1997). This includes the decision whether to modify an
existing child support order. Hill v. Hill, 9th
Dist. Summit No. 27915, 2016-Ohio-910, ¶ 10. An abuse of
discretion is more than an error of judgment; it connotes a
decision that is unreasonable, arbitrary, or unconscionable.
Blakemore v. Blakemore, 5 Ohio St.3d 217, 219
(1983). If the issue on appeal, however, "is whether the
trial court correctly applied the child support statute, this
Court employs a de novo standard of review."
Michaels v. Saunders, 9th Dist. Lorain No.
14CA010604, 2015-Ohio-3172, ¶ 15. In addition, "an
appellate court reviews the factual findings to support that
award under a manifest-weight-of-the-evidence standard."
Havrilla v. Havrilla, 9th Dist. Summit No. 27064,
2014-Ohio-2747, ¶ 13, quoting Wallace v.
Wallace, 195 Ohio App.3d 314, 2011-Ohio-4487, ¶ 10
Mother has not contested that, to demonstrate a substantial
change of circumstances under Revised Code Section
3119.79(A), she had to prove that the alleged change was not
contemplated by her and Father when they agreed to the prior
deviation in the child support award. See Sifferlin v.
Sifferlin, 9th Dist. Summit No. 27169, 2014-Ohio-5645,
¶ 14. In their agreement, Mother and Father stated three
factors that they considered in deciding to modify the child
support award. Regarding the first two factors, Mother does
not argue that the ...